High Stakes

Fiction - Western
289 Pages
Reviewed on 08/01/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

A Canadian writer, Chad Strong grew up horseback riding and hiking in the forested hills of the countryside surrounding Victoria, BC. He enjoys reading fiction and non-fiction of all sorts, from westerns to fantasies, from adventures to history. His writing has followed suit across multiple genres and his works have appeared in publications including Bards & Sages Quarterly, Mysterical-E, Rawhide’n Roses - a Western Anthology, and Frontier Tales.
His first novel, High Stakes, is a western historical romance set in Victoria, BC, and made the finals for two distinct awards: Best First Western Novel of 2012 in the Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Awards, and in the American Historical category of the RONE Awards.
He is currently working on a young adult fantasy novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers' Favorite

High Stakes is a western by Chad Strong. Victoria is a bustling town filled with gambling saloons, prostitution, and corruption. Curt Prescott enjoys this easy lifestyle, using the winnings acquired from his skilful poker playing to support his girlfriend Del and himself. However, the new pastor, Bud Andrews, and his dictatorial wife embark on crusades to cleanse the town of its immoral behaviour, much to the displeasure of Curt and other residents who are threatened with losing their source of revenue. Curt believes that if he embarrasses the Andrews by seducing their daughter, Mary, they will relocate. He acts on his idea, aware of the distrustful eyes of Mrs. Andrews, but oblivious to the plan Pastor Bud has for him. While Curt secretly woos Mary who is attracted to him, Fat Johnny and his henchman believe Curt cannot save their livelihoods. They take matters into their own hands by committing murder and framing him.

Chad Strong has written a charming western story. High Stakes contains a mild spiritual based theme, humour, and good, old-fashioned gun slinging action. The characters are entertaining, and the dialogue is colourful and witty, or sometimes pensive. It was interesting how Curt dealt with his conflicting moods when he becomes acquainted with the Andrews, and the pressures of dealing with the locals, determined to save their sinful city. Chad Strong did not give hints leading to the emotional conclusion, hence its suspense. High Stakes is original, written with spiritual undertones and romance that made it a pleasant read.